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Dateline: Amsterdam

December 29, 2009

Am I the only one who’s angry at the coverage of the thwarted terrorist attack on Christmas?

As a resident of the metropolitan Detroit area, I am utterly grateful that nothing happened in the skies over Detroit.  What a wonderful Christmas present to our area.  And what wonderful heroes were aboard — those passengers who did the actual thwarting!

But I find it incomprehensible that most media reports are reporting this incident as if the thwarted terrorist had boarded the airplane in Detroit.

He boarded the plane in Amsterdam!   Not Detroit!

As far as I know, the United States is still not in charge of airport security in Amsterdam or any other foreign country.   Yet American media reports always make sure to mention “Detroit” in their follow-up stories but almost never mention “Amsterdam.”

Our news stories are focusing on how to improve security at American airports on American soil instead of the lax security at airports in other countries.

CNN story is one of the few I found that mentions the real problem: airport security in Amsterdam. That part of the story is buried at the end, and I really had to dig to find a story that talked about it.

I wonder why there’s such misapplied coverage of this event.  My theory is that it’s painful for us Americans to think that we need to rely on other countries to help protect us — especially from flights that originate outside the control of the United States.

So we blame the would-be victim, and talk about airport security within our own borders.  We tighten our rules here and show lengthy lines of people waiting to be screened at Detroit Metropolitan Airport — not the airport in Amsterdam.

We’re redoubling our efforts here, threatening to have people hold their bladders — or worse — for the last hour of a flight.   We tell people they cannot bring carry-on luggage aboard.

Granted, we should stay vigilant and do our part here in the States.

But I think incidents like this show that, in this jet age, no country is an island, and we need each other — now, more than ever.

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